LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social media networks and is the go-to social network for professionals and networking. It is important for students to maintain a presence on LinkedIn for several reasons, including: promoting yourself, connecting with professionals, searching for jobs and more. This professional network can land anyone a job if used in the right way.
When building or improving your LinkedIn profile, focus on your experience, your connections and your recommendations.
This section of LinkedIn should reflect your resume. Add all relevant positions to your LinkedIn site—because you are not applying for a specific job with your LinkedIn profile, you do not have to tailor your content. However, you should adapt your LinkedIn profile to the industry you wish to work in.
Add job titles, work dates and a description of not only what you did at that job, but also metrics and accomplishments to prove you changed and improved tasks for your job.
When adding connections, I recommend adding people you know, people you have worked with and people you want to know. I don’t suggest using LinkedIn like some people use Facebook–don’t add whoever you want. Be strategic about who you add and how you add them.
Sending the connection request may seem like sending a formal email – and you should approach it that way, especially with people you don’t know as well. Introduce yourself, explain you are building your network and would like to connect, explain why you want to add that particular person (because of a job, internship, want to learn more about the company, etc.) and what you are looking for. It’s important to explain what you are looking for out of the new connection. As always, be appropriate and professional when writing LinkedIn connection requests.
As fond as we all are of our resumes, we all know that recommendations are an invaluable asset to our experience. We can try to explain everything we did for a company, but a letter of recommendation explaining your value and experience can seal a job for you.
Ask your co-workers and bosses for recommendations on LinkedIn. Try to compile as many as possible for jobs you hold. Recommendations will increase your credibility when someone is looking at your profile. Do not forget to return the favor in recommending someone you actually worked with and would feel comfortable recommending. Extra tip: Do not forget your recommendation to someone is a reflection of you and you should make sure you would actually recommend them to a company.
As you build your profile, remember LinkedIn is one of the best places to search for jobs because it provides you job recommendations based on your interests and specialties tailored to you. The job search will also show you if you have a connection at the job source. They even have a job search section just for students and recent graduates!
You can also build connections and meet other Chapter members across the U.S. in the PRSSA group Many PRSSA members connect with other leaders and members through the group discussions. PRSSA also sends updates and announcements important to the membership through the channel. Join the group, add your input and connect with other PRSSA and PRSA members across the nation.
This is a guest post by the National President Lauren Gray.
How do you connect with professionals you may not know on LinkedIn? Please share your best tips and practices with us.